[Part 3 of 4] United Nations A/AC.109/2111

General Assembly Distr.: General 1 June 1998

Original: English

Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples

East Timor Working paper prepared by the Secretariat

IV. Economic, social and educational conditions

30. In the absence of information submitted by the administering Power under Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations and for reasons explained in paragraph 52 below, the following information on economic, social and educational conditions in the Territory has been derived from the press releases of the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the United Nations, which have described the prevailing conditions as follows:

A. Economic growth

31. Information from the Government of Indonesia dated 7 August 1997 indicated that, during the past 10 years, East Timor's economy has been growing at the average rate of 10 per cent a year higher than the 6.8 per cent growth recorded in the other provinces. The Indonesian Government points out that East Timor's economic growth almost parallel led the rapid economic growth of East Java and Yogjakarta. As a result, the income per capita of the province has increased 10 times since the US$ 34.2 of the mid-1970s, according to the same sources.

32. According to the Indonesian Government, for the budget year 1997/1998, the amount of government spending for development programmes was over 200 million rupiah. In order to catch up with developments of other provinces, the Government has accorded priority to East Timor and the development spending per capita was the highest when compared to other provinces.

33. In recent months, the development expenditure has included the following: President Suharto inaugurated the giant statue of Christ the King at Fatumaca Hill, Dili; on 15 October 1996, several other development projects of approximately US$ 45 million were also inaugurated by President Suharto; the Minister of Foreign Affairs launched 11 development projects covering irrigation, bridges, water supply systems, schools, housing improvements and waste/garbage disposal on 24 May 1997; and the Minister for Investment inaugurated two factories in Dili for manufacturing textiles and iodized salt and which would predominantly hire East Timorese.

B. Employment

34. The information also indicated that, as in the case of many provinces in Indonesia, unemployment among the East Timorese youth remained a problem and needed to be addressed. In this regard, during the last five years, a total of 1,508 young East Timorese have been employed in the business sector in 10 Indonesian provinces. In addition, at the end of 1995, the Government recruited 2,000 East Timorese in the civil service sector, including 334 in the provincial government, 316 in the district government, 300 in the field of education, 180 as paramedics, 175 in the agriculture sector, 120 in the public works and the rest are employed in the private sector. Furthermore, the Government has established vocational training programmes for the youth to become small-scale entrepreneurs.

C. Agriculture

35. The Operational Director of the United States-based National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) stated that East Timor's organic coffee products were exported to the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and the Netherlands. In cooperation with the rural cooperative unit (Puksud), a total of 1,060 tons have been exported since 1995. Besides exporting East Timor's coffee products to other countries, NCBA also provides special training for local farmers and coffee growers.39

D. Water

36. On 14 September 1997, the Australian Government announced that it would grant 4 million Australian dollars (US$ 2.88 million) to provide clean water to an additional 20,000 people of East Timor. The office of Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that this support would continue the ongoing water supply and sanitation project for 18 months, until March 1999.40 ICRC head, Jeurg Frei, said that ICRC has also established cooperation with the Indonesian Red Cross in implementing 54 projects aimed at providing people with clean water.41

37. The following information was derived from other media sources:

E. Communications and transport

38. Indonesian Government statistics indicate that East Timor currently has almost 2,700 kilometres of modern asphalted roads, connecting the 13 districts of the 14,609 square-kilometre province.42

39. The Timor Kmanek, a new radio station sponsored by Dili Bishop Carlos Belo, was inaugurated by "Governor" Soares on 4 February 1998. Mr. Soares said he hoped that the new station would improve development in East Timor. Bishop Belo expressed hope that the station would form a common bond among Catholics in East Timor's villages. Broadcasts will be aired in the local Tetun language.43

F. Education and training

40. A reported 22 per cent (190,783) of the population of 857,000 receive formal education. East Timor has five universities, with total enrolment of 5,000. There are 239 schools including 63 kindergartens, 114 junior high schools, 37 senior high schools and 16 vocational training schools. At least 3,416 teachers are employed at the schools. Local authorities state that about 17,000 East Timorese are jobless and the number is expected to rise by 4,000 annually, due to the disparity in job opportunities and new graduates.44

41. A press release dated 5 July 1997 announced that the Norwegian oil company, Statoil, will sponsor young East Timorese to travel to Norway to receive training in oil exploration. Under a five-year accord, an initial sum of approximately US$ 483,000 would finance the training of five or six students. A Norwegian organization, World Viem Right, and the Cardinal Martinho da Costa Lopes foundation would manage the grants.45 Another press report stated that the Norwegian Government, through the Oslo-based Bishop Belo Educational Foundation, had offered scholarships to East Timorese students to pursue their studies in Norwegian universities. The Foundation provided scholarships for some 300 students from different countries in 1997.46

G. Health care

42. Health facilities include 11 hospitals, 256 community health centres, 288 auxiliary community health centres and 1,003 integrated health service posts. Almost every health centre has one or two doctors and a dozen nurses.47

H. Religion

43. Several religions are practised in East Timor. There are 765,135 Catholics, 30,538 Protestants, 24,938 Muslims, 5,500 Hindus and 2,787 Buddhists.48

I. Housing

44. The East Timor administration needs more funds to build new houses for indigenous people, who are still living in leaf-roofed huts in many areas. Each "regency" may require at least 1 billion rupiah in assistance to improve the people's welfare and build them adequate housing.49

J. Tourism

45. There is ample potential for the development of a tourism industry in East Timor. The enclave of Ambeno, Atauro and Jaco islands are touted as having the most potential. The islands have various natural tourist attractions and several cultural and historical sites. Hot water springs at Maurobo in the Bobonaro regency and the fortresses of Balibo and Maubara are also potential tourist attractions. Vast coffee plantations in Ermera and Ainaro, well known for cool weather, are considered interesting sites. White sandy beaches in Dili, Liquica and Baucau, as well as the sea gardens in Behau and Atauro, could attract tourists to East Timor.50

K. Transmigration

46. On 7 July 1997, the local transmigration office announced that 560 families from Indonesian islands and East Timor would be settled in East Timor in three transmigration sites. The "provincial" administration would offer families training and development while the Indonesian Ministry of Transmigration's local office would provide land and tools for young farmers in the "crash programme" to reduce unemployment. According to the local ministry's office, 6,484 families, or 28,950 resettlers, are now living in East Timor. Of those, 2,300 families were being trained in farming and the remaining 4,148 families were under the Ministry's supervision.51 Since 1982, the Indonesian Government has resettled a total of 8,940 families, most of them from Java, to improve social and cultural conditions.52

L. Oil

47. In November 1997, the Australia-Indonesia joint authority approved the US$ 42 million development plan for the oil field in the Timor Gap, clearing the way for first production in December 1998. A 1989 Timor Gap Treaty divided the 61,000 square kilometres stretch of continental shelf between East Timor and Australia, believed to contain huge oil and gas reserves. Partners in the development include BHP Petroleum, Santos, Inpex Sahul and Petroz.53 East Timor "Governor" Soares said he had been encouraging contractors to make districts of Betano, Natabora and Viqueque their base camp for the exploration.54 A report indicated that if the giant storage tank was constructed in East Timor, this could employ 1,000 workers in the next three years.55 Scores of East Timorese youth were joining oil and gas training programmes in Central Java.56

39 ANTARA, 30 July 1997.

40 Ibid., 15 September 1997.

41 The Indonesian Times, 15 October 1997.

42 The Indonesian Observer, 18 July 1997.

43 Ibid., 5 February 1998.

44 Ibid., 18 July 1997.

45 Agence France-Presse, 5 July 1997.

46 Berita Antara, 2 April 1998.

47 The Indonesian Observer, 18 July 1997.

48 Ibid.

49 Ibid.

50 Ibid.

51 The Jakarta Post, 8 July 1997.

52 The Indonesian Observer, 18 July 1997.

53 The Jakarta Post, 31 October 1997; The Age: Melbourne Online, 7 November 1997.

54 ANTARA, 7 July 1997.

55 Berita Antara, 24 February 1998.

56 The Indonesian Times, 4 November 1997.

[part 3 of 4]
Part 1  Part 2  Part 4

Return to UN Petitions list



or make a monthly pledge via credit card
 click here

Bookmark and Share

Background | Take Action | News | Links | What You Can Do | Resources  | Contact

ETAN Store | Estafeta | ImagesHome | Timor Postings | Search | Site Index |